Sorry Hollywood: 17% Doesn’t Cut it
The International Film Institute of New York (IFI) has always been a firm supporter and advocate for women’s rights in Television and Film. We are incredibly proud of our high enrollment of female students, and yet we understand that gender-equal enrollment is only the beginning. Every year, the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film releases an annual report on female representation in the industry.
Sponsored by the CSWTV, Women and the Big Picture¹ was the “first study to track women’s behind the scenes employment on the top 700 theatrically released films (foreign films omitted) in a single year.” They found that women made up only 20% of “key behind the scenes roles” in the top 700 films released in 2014. Furthermore, women only comprised 17% of key roles in the top 250 films. We should by no means be happy or complacent with 17 or 20%, which is why the IFI encourages aspiring women filmmakers of all ages to come study with us! Let’s change the industry for the better, together.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams thinks the world is more than ready for women to be given more opportunities in the industry. When asked who he his pick for the next director of a Star Wars movie would be, his response was none other than acclaimed Selma director, Ava DuVernay. Abrams continued to say, “She is as much a fan of genre movies, and hearing her talk not just ‘Star Wars,’ but hearing her talk about those kinds of films is evidence that she would just kill it.”²
Abrams touches on an important point. There is an unfounded perception that women filmmakers are only talented at producing a very stereotypical and specific type of material, romance movies. This could not be further from the truth. Katheryn Bigelow, director of movies such as The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, is perhaps the most famous director to disprove this theory. However, there are countless other accomplished female filmmakers who have slipped through the industry gaps. Mary Harron, a former punk-rock reporter turned filmmaker, is known for her impressive work in art house cinema. Harron’s most famous directorial work is American Psycho, although she has many other noteworthy accomplishments. We can only hope that women like Harron and Bigelow continue to shine bright, and soon become not just the exception to the rule, but an industry standard.
By Juna Drougas, Staff Writer
¹”RESEARCH.” Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film: SDSU. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
²”J.J. Abrams Wants Ava DuVernay to Direct a ‘Star Wars’ Movie.” Variety. N.p., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.